Speaking A Word of Truth

As Christian leaders, pastors, and most importantly followers of Jesus Christ, we are greatly troubled by recent attempts to use faith as a political weapon. From Rick Santorum’s claim that the President’s theology is “not a theology based on the Bible,” to Franklin Graham’s implication that the President may be a Muslim, to the drum beat of false claims about Obama’s so-called “war on religion,” these cynical attempts to use faith as a weapon of political division are bad for our country and especially harmful to the Christian witness.

We can disagree about what it means to be a Christian engaged in politics, but Christians shouldn’t bear false witness. And the teachings of Jesus and the prophets call us in our imperfection to put the most vulnerable among us ahead of our self-interest. As the President said at the last Easter Prayer Breakfast, Jesus “took on the sins of the world – past, present and future – and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection.” This gift of grace should remind Christians to enter the public square with a spirit of humility and respond to all we’ve been given (and forgiven) by serving our neighbor and protecting the vulnerable. That’s how we strengthen our witness. Using faith as a partisan tool weakens it.

No politician or government will ever reflect God’s will perfectly, but we prayerfully call on political leaders and members of the media to return to the issues Jesus and the prophets were most concerned about and to stop using faith as a weapon to advance partisan politics and self-interest.

Kathryn M. Lohre, President, National Council of Churches & Director, Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Clare J. Chapman, Esq., Interim General Secretary, National Council of Churches

Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin, Executive Director of Minnesota Council of Churches

Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rev. Dr. Richard L. “Dick” Hamm, Former General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Jim Winkler, General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church

Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ

Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor, Northland – A Church Distributed

Dr. Carroll A. Baltimore, Sr, President, Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.

Ron Sider, President, Evangelicals for Social Action

Rich Cizik, President, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good

Steven Martin, Executive Director, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good

Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Professor of Theology Chicago Theological Seminary

Rev. Michael Livingston, Director, Poverty Initiative, National Council of Churches

Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Co-Chair, National African American Clergy Network

Rev. Jennifer Butler, Executive Director, Faith in Public Life

Rev. Beau Underwood, Partnership and Outreach Coordinator, Faith in Public Life

Burns Strider, President, American Values Network

Eric Sapp, Executive Director, American Values Network

Deborah Fikes, Executive Advisor, World Evangelical Alliance

The Reverend Leah D. Daughtry, The House of the Lord Church in Washington, D.C.

Rev. Dr. Franklin I. Gamwell, Shailer Mathews Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Religious Ethics, the Philosophy of Religions, and Theology, University of Chicago Divinity School

Rev Elizabeth Shannon, Associate Chaplain, Eckerd College St Petersburg, FL and Co-Moderator, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship

Rev. Jonathan Hall, Pastor, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Ventura, CA

Lisa Sharon Harper, Director of Mobilizing, Sojourners

Rev. Bryan N. Massingale, Associate Professor of Theology, Marquette University

Bishop Roy I. Sano

Rev. Dr. G. Wilson Gunn, Jr., General Presbyter, National Capital Presbytery

Rev. Dr. Stephen Gentle, Senior Pastor, National City Christian Church Washington, D.C.

Bishop Joe Wilson, retired United Methodist Bishop

Rev. Chuck Currie, United Church of Christ minister

Stephen Sapp, Professor of Religious Studies University of Miami Coral Gables, FL

James Salt Executive Director, Catholics United

Wes Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America

Rev. Thomas J. Reese, S.J. Senior Fellow Woodstock Theological Center Georgetown University

Bishop C. Joseph Sprague, The United Methodist Church

Rev. T. Michael McNulty, SJ Justice and Peace Director Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM)

Brian D. McLaren, author, speaker

Mark C. Johnson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation

Bishop Sharon Rader

Robert T. Hoshibata, Resident Bishop, Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference, United Methodist Church

Janelle Gingrich-Caudle, Founder/President, Rivers of New Hope Ministries

Forrest C. Stith, Retired Bishop, United Methodist Church

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association

Rev. Julian DeShazier, Senior Minister, University Christian Church Chicago, IL

Rev. Russell Meyer, Executive Director, Florida Council of Churches

Rev. Steve Copley, Director, Justice for Our Neighbors of Little Rock, AK

Reverend J. Stephen Jones, Southside Baptist Church Birmingham, AL

Marci Glass, Pastor

Rev. Michael McLaughlin

David Ensign, Pastor, Clarendon Presbyterian Church

Jill Tolbert, Pastor, Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

Rev. Heather Wood Davis, Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

Rev. John Wimberly, Pastor, Western Presbyterian Church Washington, D.C.

Julie Bailey, Associate pastor, Evergreen Presbyterian Church Memphis, TN

Rev. Dr. Bob Cornwall, Pastor, Central Christian Church Troy, MI

Rev. Randolph Bracy, Jr., Senior Pastor, New Covenant Baptist Church Orlando, FL

Rev. Angie Wright, Pastor, Beloved Community Church Birmingham, AL

Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland Tune, Baptist minister

Rev. Fritz Gutwein, Associate Director, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship

Rev. Davis Bailey

Rev. Marilyn Pagan-Banks, Executive Director, A Just Harvest

Rev. Jim Brehler, First Congregational United Church of Christ of Jefferson, OH

J. Philip Wogaman, Professor emeritus, Wesley Theological Seminary

Rev. James DeLange, Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council

Rev. Dr. Laurie A Kraus, Riviera Presbyterian Church

Rev. Beth Tanner, Associate Professor of Old Testament, New Brunswick Theological Seminary & Parish Associate, Bound Brook Presbyterian Church

Terrence W. Tilley, Ph.D., Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., Professor of Catholic Theology
Chair, Theology Department at Fordham University

The Right Reverend Leo Frade, Diocesan Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida

Kent J. Siladi, Conference Minister, United Church of Christ in Florida

Rev. Jeannette Solimine, United Church of Christ minister

Donald Smith, Parish Associate, United University Church of University of Southern California

Rev. Natalie Moon-Wainwright, Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

The Rev. Paula M. Jackson, Rector, The Church of Our Saviour/La Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador, Episcopal, Cincinnati, OH

Rev. Michael R. Swartzentruber, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), University of Chicago Divinity School, Disciples Divinity House Scholar

Sharon Hirsch, Elder, Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

David Crowley, Designated Pastor, First Presbyterian Alton, IL

Linda Richard, Pastor, Bartonville United Methodist Church Bartonville, IL

Pamela Garside-Meyers, Student Pastor Yorkville United Methodist Church

Nanette Anslinger, Communications Chair, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Altoona, PA

Lauri Yeargin, Executive Director, The Bishop Gravatt Center, Inc.

Lois Huneycutt, Associate Professor of History, University of Missouri – Columbia

Rev. Dr. L. Susan Bond, Assistant Professor of Religion, Lane College

Rev. Dr. Troy Jackson, Pastor, University Christian Church Cincinnati, OH

David Nehring, Retired Lutheran pastor

Rev. Cynthia Wood

Rev. Kathy Young, United Methodist Church

Rev. William G. Britton

Rev. Barb Hobe, United Church of Christ

J.P. Peterson, JD, MBA, Moderator, Liberty Presbyterian Church Board of Deacons; Stephen Minister

Dan Neuman, Minister of Music, Now Faith Ministries Intl Madison, WI

Rev. David Mears, United Church of Christ

Katy Steinberg , Director of Youth and Children Christ Presbyterian Church

Steven Burleson, Youth Minister, Holy Covenant United Church of Christ

Rev. Peggy Jeffries, United Methodist Church

Holly Jackson, Minister for Christian Education, Hope UCC

Rev. Mark Sandlin, Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

Beth Bosley, Clerk of Session, Canyon Community Presbyterian Church

Rev. Rebecca Blackwell, Cherokee Presbytery, Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

Rev. Muriel Burrows, Pastor, Witherspoon Presbyterian Church, Princeton, NJ

Timothy Bonney, Associate Pastor, First UMC Cedar Falls, IA

Rev. Linda Farley, Pastor, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rusty Eidmann-Hicks, Pastor, Holmdel Community UCC

Frederick Gaddy, Pastor, St. Paul AME Church Des Moines, IA

Nancy Birdsong, Senior pastor, Bound Brook Presbyterian Church, NJ

Rev. Dr. Jack Haberer, Editor, Presbyterian Outlook Magazine

Rev. Wendy Dewberry, Associate Pastor, Columbia Presbyterian Church

Rev. Dr. Stan G. Duncan, Task Force Chair, Jubilee Justice Task Force of the United Church of Christ (UCC)

Pastor Carolyn Kennedy, United Church of Christ Mazomanie, WI

Richard Waldrop, Latin American Coordinator for Social Ministries, Church of God World Missions

Rev. Jayne Thompson, Campus Pastor, University Lutheran Church of the Epiphany

Rev. Tammy S. Anderson, Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church (ELCA) Earlville, IL

Shanta Premawardhana, President, Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education

Rev. Al Sharp, Executive Director, Protestants for the Common Good

Douglas Kmiec, U.S. Amb. (ret.) & Chair of Constitutional Law & Human Rights, Pepperdine University

W. Harvey Jenkins, Jr., Executive Presbyter H.R., Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

Mozella G. Mitchell, Ph.D., Professor and Former Chair – Department of Religious Studies, University of South Florida

Dr. Anthony Campolo, Eastern University

Alan Beaver, Retired pastor, United Methodist Church

Rev. Alan Bray, Pastor, First Lutheran Church St. Peter, MN

Dr. Matthew Rindge, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Gonzaga University

Cally Rogers-Witte, retired minister, United Church of Christ & former Co-executive, Global Ministries (UCC and Disciples)

Rev. Jennifer Thomas, Pastor, United Methodist Church

The Rev. Hambisa Belina

Rev. Eric Atcheson, Senior Pastor, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Longview, WA

Stephen Drachler, Executive Director, United Methodist Advocacy in Pennsylvania

Rev. Jason Bryant, OSL, United Methodist Church

Rev. Frits Haverkamp, Minister, Northside Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rev. Dr. Keith Haverkamp, Norris Religious Fellowship (Inter-denominational church)

Mario Melendez, Episcopal Campus Ministry/ Chapel of the Good Shepherd & Wesley Foundation United Methodist Campus Ministry, Purdue University

Coeli Baker, Minister, Church of God

The Rev. Jane Schmoetzer, Rector, All Saints’ Episcopal Church Richland, WA

Rev. Ann Blair, United Methodist Church

Chuck Frost, Pastoral Associate, St. Andrew’s Catholic Church Roanoke, VA

Michael McKale, Professor of Religious & Philosophical Studies, Saint Francis University

Rev. Joan Vincent

Rev. Tommy Dillon, Rector, St Aidan’s Episcopal Church, San Francisco, CA

Father Larry Canavera, Associate Pastor, St. John Catholic Little Chute, WI

Val Colenso, Pastor, First United Methodist Church of Fountain, CO

Rev. Donald Vincent, Retired Minister, United Church of Christ

Rev. JoAnn Fabie, ELCA retired clergy

Rev. Douglas Veal, Pastor, Daleville Church of the Brethren

Myron Schrag, Pastor, Mennonite ChurchUSA (retired)

Lizabeth Rutherford, Sisters of St. Francis of Colorado Springs

John Deegan, Chair, Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor

Daryl Smith, Pastoral Team Leader, Orlando Free Methodist Fellowship

Fred Theobald, MA, LPCi

Rev. Dr. Dan Geslin, United Church of Christ

Rev. Dr. Candace Shultis, King of Peace MCC St. Petersburg FL

Rev. Erik Christensen, Pastor, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square

Rev. Vicki Gray, Christ the Lord Episcopal Church Pinole, CA

Rev. Caroline Smallwood, Pastor, Sergeantsville United Methodist Church

Rev. Kirk H. Neely, Senior Pastor

Rev. Richard Mosley, Jr., Hemenway United Methodist Church

Rev. Anne Gregory, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Betsy Neely, Protestants for the Common Good

Dr. Jeff Lenn, Professor, George Washington University

Clint Gill, Clergy, United Methodist Church

Jack Knox, Pastor, Mennonite Church USA

Sheri Speare, Catholic hospital psychiatric nurse

Rev. Lynn Jondahl, Retired United Church of Christ Clergy

Rev. Henry Brinker, United Church of Christ Pastor

Rev. Catherine Rolling, Glade Church (United Church of Christ and Alliance of Baptists) Blacksburg, VA

Neil Cowling, Teaching Elder, Kirk of Our Savior Westland, MI (Presbyterian Church U.S.A.)

Danny Yu, President, Christian Leadership Exchange

Rev. Gregg Wortham

Rev. Dr. Stephen Simmons, Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

Rev. Dr. Stephen Ray, Pastor, United Methodist Church

Dr. James Comer

Madeline Johnson, Director of Christian Education, United Church of Christ (UCC)

Brenda Gullett, American Values Network Council Member

Susan Senn, ELCA

Dr. Jean Rhodes

Dottie Wine, Past President, South Coast Interfaith Council Long Beach, CA

KC Willis, KC Willis Ministries

Jeffrey & Steffie Belcher, Ordained Minister & wife

Marcia Sietstra, Minister, United Church of Christ